Did I get the song in your head? Last weekend, as an early birthday present for O, we went to check out Day out with Thomas at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there from downtown Chicago and it turned out to be a really cool museum. We definitely want to go back on a less crowded day.
The star of the attraction was a real life Thomas the Train, who, if you have a toddler or preschooler, I am sure you are familiar. O loooooves trains so we knew this would be a big hit but honestly, while the ride on Thomas was fun, the museum itself was cool enough that I’d go back.
The museum is pretty big and they had several huge barn that were just full of old trains. O really liked this part and I did too.
But of course, the main attraction was a ride on Thomas the Train! Well actually you ride on a train that Thomas is “pulling”. The event sells tickets by time of your train ride, I recommend going as early as you can to try and beat the crowds. When you get there, you wait in corral areas to board and the kids all pretty much go nuts when Thomas pulls up. (You also get to listen to really loud music, the kind of thing Aa called, “Thomas Rock!” i.e. pop songs about the Island of Sodor and the Troublesome Trucks etc.) We waited for less than 10 minutes and then got a nice 20 minute ride through the museum and out into the area surrounding.
We waved at all the kids watching Thomas go by
looked out the window (and then got yelled at for putting our heads out–it wasn’t moving yet! I swear!)
and just generally had a good time
On the ride you pass lots of old decrepit trains on the tracks, the textures and colors of those were Aa’s and my favorite part.
And then when that ride was over, while the next group of passengers is boarding you can go see Thomas and get your picture taken!
Thomas runs throughout the day so we brought our own lunch (I also recommend this!) and sat at picnic tables right next to the track and watched him go by at least 5 times. They also had lots of other activites, including a giant pile of sand (which of course was O’s favorite thing! Why?! We have sand at home! I did not pay $20 a person to play in a pile of sand!) bouncy houses, Thomas arts and crafts and Thomas temporary tattoos. And, of course, you could meet Sir Topham Hatt himself! (It was a guy in a cartoony costume who must have been sooo hot! Couldn’t they find a chubby bald guy and give him a suit and top hat?)
(It’s spelled HATT with two T’s, thank you very much!)
All in all, it was a fun day and I totally recommend this museum even without Thomas and his friends!